Everything You Need To Know (And See) About The Historic First Flight Of The B-21

B-21 first flight


B-21 first flight
The B-21 throughout its first flight (picture by @point_mugu_skies edited by The Aviationist)

Now we have seen plenty of attention-grabbing particulars within the images and movies of the brand new B-21 Raider bomber throughout its first flight.

At 6:51 a.m on Nov.10, 2023, the B-21 Raider stealth bomber finally took to the skies for its first flight from Air Power Plant 42 in Palmdale, escorted by an F-16 appearing as security chase on the best way to Edwards Air Power Base. The U.S. Air Power didn’t disclose the deliberate day for the primary flight, nevertheless dozens aviation fanatics and beginner photographers gathered close to the airport ready for the bomber to take off, in accordance with Reuters.

“The B-21 Raider is in flight testing,” confirmed an Air Power spokesperson. “Flight testing is a vital step within the take a look at marketing campaign managed by the Air Power Take a look at Heart and 412th Take a look at Wing’s B-21 Mixed Take a look at Power to offer survivable, long-range, penetrating strike capabilities to discourage aggression and strategic assaults towards america, allies, and companions.”

In response to our sources, the primary flight of the sixth era bomber was initially slated to happen yesterday, Thursday Nov. 9, but it surely was cancelled, attributable to a technical subject. Then now, three weeks earlier than the anniversary of its public unveiling, below the callsign RAIDER 33, the B-21 carried out the long-awaited maiden flight which ended about an hour and half later with a protected touchdown at Edwards AFB at roughly 8:30 a.m.

This primary flight, which was already expected to happen before the end of the year, follows the footsteps of the B-2’s first flight which on July 17, 1989, took off from Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale and landed 112 minutes later at Edwards for developmental testing by the 420th Flight Take a look at Squadron. The identical squadron, reactivated in 2019, will plan, take a look at, analyze and report on all flight and floor testing of the B-21 Raider.

Retreating within the dawn mild, the B-21 supplied the primary full take a look at its planform and underside, whereas different particulars such because the variety of engines continues to be unknown. The new sixth generation bomber will now begin an intensive flight take a look at marketing campaign run by a mixed take a look at drive comprised by Air Power and Northrop Grumman personnel that can validate the digital fashions used within the simulations, stated the corporate in a press release.

Flight monitoring web sites confirmed a welcome celebration within the airspace above Edwards AFB ready for the Raider’s arrival. In actual fact, a KC-135R tanker, callsign GHOST 27, was orbiting over the airbase effectively earlier than the takeoff of the B-21, joined later by a C-12 Huron, callsign RAIDER 02, which apparently adopted the B-21 from a distance because it was tracked whereas additionally orbiting Palmdale. Two different unidentified tracks have been additionally seen, probably associated to the chase plane such because the F-16 seen within the first-ever video of the Raider in flight recorded by freelance information photojournalist Matt Harman.

The photographs circulating thus far affirm the planform of the Raider, displaying that it misses the saw-tooth trailing edge that may be discovered on the B-2 Spirit (really, as defined in a previous post, the B-2 began with a planform just like the one of many B-21, nevertheless that needed to be modified to extend the steadiness throughout strike missions at low altitude, a requirement which has not been requested for the brand new sixth-gen bomber).

As within the images of the bottom testing, some images of the primary flight present as soon as once more the two unknown doors on the engines’ nacelles. Considered one of most believable hypotheses is a pair of auxiliary consumption doorways, opened from the rear by the engine management pc when the primary intakes are usually not offering sufficient air for the ability setting of the engine, as for the B-2. One other speculation circulating round is a pair of bleed air vents.

The Raider was trailing a wire with an air knowledge probe for calibration. Different particulars that may be noticed are the stylized Northrop Grumman Flight test badge, which was already painted under the nostril, now painted additionally under the left wing. On the nostril gear door we will additionally see a emblem displaying the multi-headed canine Cerberus of the Greek mythology. The “stomach” of the plane seems to be repeatedly curved, a form absolutely designed to mirror as a lot radar waves as potential away from the plane, with the one flat space being the bomb bay.

The photographs now we have seen thus far have been taken from outdoors the airport fence with the plane flying in clear in daylight, suggesting the Air Power isn’t too involved the plane could possibly be photographed by aviation spotters. In actual fact, as usually talked about by the officers, the true secrets and techniques that make out all of the superior capabilities of the B-21 are effectively hidden deep contained in the plane.

In the intervening time, Northrop Grumman is predicted to obtain quickly a contract award for the primary Low Price Preliminary Manufacturing contract, which may cowl as much as 21 plane. Northrop Grumman, after mentioning that the award was anticipated instantly after the primary flight, stated that they are planning LRIP at a zero profitability attributable to greater labor prices and inflation, however the bomber will change into worthwhile as soon as it reaches full fee manufacturing.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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